An ode to Gloria: the kindest friend

A while back, when I took a trip to Montana, I posted on Facebook how important it is to tell your family that you love them.  My friend Eli turned it into a speech and convinced me to tell my friends, too.  Usually it goes unspoken, or said in passing, but I take one of my friends for granted, and I had a very hard conversation with her earlier this week that could’ve changed the course of our friendship.  But, you see, Glo is better than that, and so this post is dedicated to her.

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This is my friend, Gloria. She’s going to be a mom soon, and her life is probably flipping up side down. She’s so very excited, and I can’t be happier for her and her husband.

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Me and Gloria have been friends since high school. Back then, I was friends with her now-husband, Mike, and so Gloria and I were in the same circles.  Mike and I were dirty minded dorks, but I always just remember Glo being sweet and funny. She was never the type to get into any trouble.

She’s still not.  We used to be roommates, and at the time, I think I underestimated how good of a friend she was. It took a few impromptu parties, many walks to the gas station, getting snowed in, and watching lots of “So You Think You Can Dance” before I understood that she’s a keeper.  I made a lot of happy memories when me and Jeff lived with Gloria and Mike.

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Somewhere along the line, she decided that I was a keeper too.  She shares her life with me, the good news and the bad. She comes over for game nights and invites us out to her place, too. She’s kind, generous, loyal, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her angry.  We don’t always see eye to eye, but she puts up with me and my over-the-top-ness without ever making me feel bad.  I don’t know if I can say the same for her.

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I’m judgmental sometimes, and opinionated, and I think Gloria has suffered through those qualities of mine.  She must see something more to me than my flaws, and I can’t thank her enough for it.  When I didn’t have any friends in the world, I still had her.

I’ve been trying to be a better friend over the past few years, and I hope she knows that I don’t mean to take her for granted, and that I won’t any more.

Gloria, you’re a great friend, with so much patience. I am lucky to know you, and I hope that never changes.   Thank you for being you.

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9/11 Memorial Museum

The 9/11 Memorial and museum were heavy, and somber.  In this case, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. 

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I’ll be honest, I didn’t post some of the more traumatic scenes from the memorial. I was in tears a few times. As an American, though, and as someone who lived through that moment in time, I felt it was necessary to go and to honor those that were impacted personally by the tragedies of that day.

Live from New York City, it’s MegsFitness!

(Cheers, applause)
Hello hello, and welcome to my latest blog post. I am writing to you via mobile from Shakespeare’s garden in central park, where it’s almost easy to forget that there are millions of people here.

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I took the subway to central park because my hotel decided it was a great idea to do a fire alarm test this morning.  The sound wasn’t deafening or overly obnoxious, but it was persistent and played at irregular intervals.

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The same could be said for the city. It is pulsing and vibrant, pushy, and smelly, but it’s also hypnotic and alive.  I can’t shift my gaze without seeing something creative. The towering skyscrapers, the glowing ads, street artists, vendors, museums, theaters–everywhere!!

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I’ve gone out every day since we arrived, taking in all of the sights and sounds of the city. After the first day, I was so sore!  In fact, I went to set up a humidifier and ended up throwing out my back. :(

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Luckily, is feeling better today. :D
My throat has been hurting, though. It’s better when I’m not at the hotel, so I think there’s an irritant there…

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The first morning that I was here, I bought breakfast for myself.  I made the mistake of actually going to the restaurant at the hotel… This is what $40 got me:

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A few eggs and toast. I was so frustrated… It was delicious, but not $40 worth of delicious.  After that, I requested a mini fridge from the concierge and found a grocery store. We had nuts, yogurt, and hummus around so that we wouldn’t have to do that again.  Jeff has been getting meals as part of his conference, too, so we’ve been saving those left overs.

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Yesterday, we saw a display of historic children’s literature at the new York public library. It even includes Christopher Robin’s stuffed toys: Kanga, Eyore, Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet.

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The section that I found most interesting was the section on banned books and the history behind them.  I had no idea that Anne Frank’s diary hadbeen scrubbed of “impurities.”. It’s very fascinating.

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Anyway.. my feet are rested and my phone is hot. I think that I’ll continue my journey through central park, and write more later.

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“Tell me you love me!”

I am pretty much on cloud nine at the moment.  When I went to process the vehicle registration renewal for one of our vehicles, the DMV website gave me an error saying that registrations that are overdue cannot be processed online.  Given that we had never even received a renewal notice nor had we received any information about the registration being past due, I decided that the website was full of it.  Our vehicle had a ’14 sticker on it, and I was a week away from the due date when I tried to apply.

I got on the phone right away with the DMV… This is what I do for a living–I resolve weird issues related to the administration of vehicles, so I was in my zone.  The woman at the DMV insisted that the vehicle hadn’t been registered since 2012 and that the tags were expired by almost a year.  She requested that we pay $363.00 for last year’s renewal and an additional $309.00 for this year’s renewal.  Now–we’ve been saving up for this year’s renewal, but there’s no way in the world I’m prepared to pay an EXTRA $363.00!  I may or may not have deadpanned and declared to the agent “I’m not paying that. There’s no way in the world!”

I asked how to dispute it, and she asked that I verify the sticker number, so that they could work through it.  Well–I had Jeff send me the photo, and lo and behold, the wrong sticker was on the vehicle.  After the 6 digit sticker number is the vehicle license plate number and this one did not match our plate number.  But I meant it when I told the DMV I’m not paying it… I called the dealer next and asked to speak with a title clerk.  The thing is, we bought our vehicle last July and these tags expire this July–it should’ve been noted in the inspection or during the title and licensing of this vehicle that the registration was due.  The great thing is, they were as wonderful to work with on this issue as they were when we were buying our vehicle.  I’ll definitely recommend them for your car buying needs.  I’m even going to write them a nice review on Yelp!

After researching it, the dealer determined that the previous owner of the vehicle put the wrong sticker on the vehicle and offered to send us to a check to cover the cost of last year’s renewal.  Hallelujah!

It’s times like these when I am able to take a snarl of a mess and resolve it satisfactorily that I turn to Jeff and tell him “Now, tell me you love me,” with a smug grin on my face ;)

Cityscape at The Paint Pub

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I finally celebrated my birthday with friends.  :) My birthday was back on July 6th and I knew I wanted to go to the Paint Pub.  The shop sets up canvasses and paint, then leads a class in painting one specific thing.  The one I was really interested in was a cityscape of Minneapolis by way of The Stone Arch Bridge. 

When I got there, I was greeted by a lovely and chipper host who got me all set up at my work station.  The canvas and the easel were already set up, and the paint provided.  While I waited for the class to fill, I browsed a cute little boutique and considered other paintings I could do in the future.

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Towards the back, they had snacks and entrees available, along with wine, beer, and soft drinks.  For myself, I ordered a cheese tray and some ginger ale. There was a woman across from me, though, that ordered a panini that smelled delicious.  She was drinking white wine.

Our instructor began the class with a warm welcome and assured us that we’d hate our paintings at first, but to trust the process.  She said that we’re staring at it up close, so all we’d see is what we thought was wrong, but if we’d take a moment to step back and appreciate it as a whole, that we’d love pour paintings by the end.

It sounded, actually, like sage advice: if you’re looking at something so close that all you can see are the flaws, step back, and look at it from a distance to appreciate it as a whole.  I could definitely see this applying to a few people I know…

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As the class carried on, we were walked through exactly what to do. Everyone had their own perspectives and I heard a lot of people worry over how poorly they were doing.  I made it a point to be amiable, because I love art, and if someone else can discover a passion for it, they should. Far be it for me or anyone else to say someone isn’t good enough. There was a poor girl there, though, who was raising her arm with concerns and questions after every instruction.  She seemed really uncomfortable with the whole process.  Perhaps more wine would’ve helped. ;)

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Even though this one was pretty basic and rudimentary, it was just the kick start that I needed to get me painting again.  I’m thinking about whether I want to do a figure painting, a landscape, or a still life.  I took some photos of sunflowers, though, and I really enjoy depicting them.

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The class wrapped up around 9 and we all had our photos taken with our paintings. They all had different feelings, just like the personalities of the artists. I was glad to have shared the experience with friends :D

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Summer TV and Exercise

Per my previous post, I am taking a break from Facebook.  Did you also know that I’m taking a break from gaming?  The two are not related.  I sort of quit my guid took a hiatus from my guild when I decided to focus on fitness instead.  It’s been a couple months, now, and I’ve only logged in a time or two.

I *have* spent more time working out, but it’s not nearly the amount of time that I anticipated.  I’ve gotten a lot more walking in, some mild strength training, and a whole lot of excuse-making.  Oh what? Excuses??  Pssh.

I like to think of it less as excuses and more like some quality TV watching time.  I completely blitzed through Orange Is The New Black  and now I’m watching How I Met Your Mother, Bones, and Baby Daddy.

I would probably actually get more home-gym workouts done if Netflix had commercials, but as it stands, I try to do calisthenics while watching the episodes :)

The plan seems to be working, though, I’ve lost 8 pounds so far :)

The paleo plan is still at about 60% and going strong.  I crave more veggies these days and I don’t miss bread much at all.  Some days I just want a slice of buttery toast, but I think that might just be because I like butter ;)

So how are you spending your summer?  What are your favorite shows to watch?

 

 

FBLOA

Facebook Hiatus – Taking a Break From Social Media

I finally did it.  I acted on the idea that has been swirling in the back of my mind for more than a month now.  I changed my profile picture, my cover photos, and my settings… and I quit facebook.  For 30 days.  You can probably imagine why I would feel the need to take a break from Facebook.  You might even be reading this blog from your phone, from a place where the world is absolutely carrying on around you.  Or, you could be in the bathroom.  Can’t you be alone with your thoughts for even five minutes?

That’s the critique I gave myself, because I am on my phone, specifically on Facebook, CONSTANTLY.  Quite literally (not figuratively), I check my phone first thing in the morning before I get out of bed.  I’m not afraid to say that I bring my phone into the bathroom with me.  Everyone does it.  I check Facebook on the computer before I leave for work.  I check it again as I’m in my car, before I even pull out of the stall.  I check it after I park at work, just looking for something new that I might have missed.  I check it during the work day–it’s almost constantly in the background.  I check it in my car before I drive home from work, again in the parking spot at home, and then I migrate to my computer–and Jeff is on his–then we stare at our electronic devices in bed, then we kiss and fall asleep.

And why?  There is figuratively nothing worth looking at on my social media feed.  Good vs. evil, what state you should live in, what your vernacular says about you–and Buzzfeed! Gods, Buzzfeed.  What a time suck.

What am I missing?  Well, I don’t know–because it’s been this way for about a year or so.  I’m missing spending QUALITY time with my husband, I know that for sure.  I’m missing out on rich interactions with my friends because we’ve ‘interacted’ enough via facebook already that day.  The depth of my relationships is getting shallower and shallower.

Aside from relationships, I’m also losing out on productivity at work.  Do you think I can focus very well with Facebook taunting me in the backround?  3 new notifications! I must click them before I finish writing this e-mail.  Oops, I hear footsteps, better alt+tab.

I’m missing out on nature.  I try not to, but inevitably I’ll scroll through facebook while I’m out for a walk.  Someone honked at me while I was out for a walk the other day and I assumed it was some jerk from the high school judging me again.  Turns out, it was my neighbor.  If I hadn’t had my nose buried in my phone, I could’ve waved at her in a friendly manner instead of throwing my hands out in exasperation and shouting “What?!”  And for what?  Another Grammarly update saying that people on the internet will still correct you if you make a typo.

So, I’m calling it quits–for 30 days.  I want to WILL regain some of the depth to my most important relationships.  I want to WILL be present in my day to day interactions.  I want to WILL be more focused and productive at work.

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I think that the hardest part of this challenge is that I am going to New York City in a few weeks.  There will be brand new experiences–sights, sounds, friends, and photos that I’m sure I’ll be tempted to immediately upload onto social media.  And selfies! Oh my goodness, the selfies.  The thing is, though, before social media, I actually cherished my photos.  I looked back on them, I printed them out, I scrap-booked them, and if you were a special friend, I’d print a copy for you too.  Maybe I’d even put it in a really cute frame.

Just imagine how much more vibrant my memories will be if I can actually live and experience them rather than ‘capturing them for posterity Facebook.’

I imagine that I’ll just be more cognizant of my choices, take fewer photos, live more of my life than I put on the internet.

 

Have you ever taken a hiatus from social media?  What did you take away from it?  

 

P.S. I still plan to blog during this time, so don’t expect radio silence after I *just* got back  ::wink::